Top European trade delegation in Sri Lanka to initiate US$ 8 million project

A top European trade delegation has arrived in Sri Lanka to formulate a trade-related capacity building project, which will enhance the overall performance of the export sector of Sri Lanka.

The proposed US$ 8 million project, which is scheduled to implement from 2016, will be funded by the European Union, the Minister of Commerce and Industries Rishad Bathiudeen said.

"This latest initiative matches very well with our new government's vision and a great start! Therefore on behalf of the President Maithripala Sirisena, I extend our thanks to the EC (European Commission) for interacting very quickly with us in this event as well as all our trade initiatives and issues," the Minister said addressing the delegation.

The European delegation from Geneva's International Trade Centre (ITC) led by Xuejun Jiang, Chief-Office for Asia and the Pacific, ITC, Geneva, met the Minister and Commerce Ministry officials on 21 January at the Export Development Board in Colombo.

The delegation also included top officials of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in Geneva.

The head of the delegation Xuejun Jiang said under the Joint Commission's Working Group on Trade at Brussels meeting last year, possible EU assistance for capacity development was inquired into and EU responded positively. Subsequently a proposal was followed through EU Embassy in Colombo resulting in a grant in the range of Euro 2 to 7 million for a capacity development exercise in Sri Lanka.

According to Minister Bathiudeen, Sri Lanka has picked ITC for as coordinator for the entire program. Other economic agencies of the country including government agencies and various trade chambers are stakeholders in this exercise. The concept will be developed and implemented by Geneva's ITC. The Department of Commerce is the local coordinator of the project. UNIDO is also extending its expertise. The new project is expected to commence within a year from now to span three to four years.

EU is Sri Lanka's single largest export market and has also been SL's second largest trade partner for a long time. Total exports to EU in this year's January-November provisional exports stood at US$3.21 billion-huge 32% of the period's total exports at US$10.1 billion. Total trade with the EU in 2013 was a steady US$ 4.95 Billion, slightly rising from 2012's $4.94 billion.

The Minister said the European Commission (EC) has given Sri Lanka continued and strong support in this project as well as to boost the trade capacity in general. The consultation process got started very recently, in October and already the work has moved to next phase, the Minister said. ITC has already extended its support to the Ministry of Commerce and Industries in 2012 in its EDB benchmarking test and more recently in 2014 July, formulating the 'Performance Improvement Roadmap' for EDB. Sri Lanka's bilateral trade with EU, which provides Sri Lanka with the GSP facility, in the first eleven months of 2014 stood at US$ 3.2 billion. In 2013, Sri Lanka's exports to EU stood at US$ 3.28 billion rising from 2012's US$ 3.billion, while imports from EU fell to US$ 1.67 billion from 2012's US$ 1.79 billion.

EDB unveils srilanka Service-exporters urged to join, reap benefits

The Island - 22/02/2015

Saman Maldeni, Director, Export Services of SLEDB showcases EDB's new web portal to service

As Sri Lanka's top service exports -ICT- started moving towards crucial US dollar one billion mark this year, the country's apex exports body EDB announced a major initiative on 17 February to further diversify exports beyond merchandises and to move for service exports.

" is the first, specialised web portal for all our service exporters and a one stop for them to link with international partners. This portal is absolutely free for exporters" said Saman Maldeni (Director, Export Services of SLEDB) on 17 February in Colombo.

Lankan ICTs first entry to Slush 2015 - 17/12/2014

In a major renewal of its economic cooperation with Sri Lanka, World’s ICT innovation leader has announced that it is ready to form a joint Business Council with Sri Lanka for the first time, as revealed on dEC.04-and Lankan ICT start-ups have received a breakthrough invitation to showcase themselves at one of world’s top-tier start-up events in 2015.

“It is time that we establish a Finland-Sri Lanka Business Council for B2B activities. Such a mechanism will kick-start the process. We are also looking forward to see SME level Sri Lankan ICT BPM and business start-ups at the 2015 ‘Slush’ event in Helsinki” said an upbeat Matti Anttonen, Finnish Deputy Minister of External Economic Relations & Finnish Under-Secretary of State on dEC.04 in Colombo.

Jan-Oct exports surge to $ 9 b

Daily FT - 10/12/2014

  • YoY Jan-Oct exports up by 8.7% to $ 9.1 b
  • Working towards $ 20 b by 2020: EDB’s Egodage
  • Fisheries in turnaround
  • US still topmost market for Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s January-October YoY exports have surged by almost 9% while an export product that recently faced volatile EU markets showed a promising turnaround, as revealed yesterday.

“For the month of October 2014 alone our provisional exports were at $ 900 m and this is only merchandise exports without taking into account of service exports such as ICT,” said EDB Chairman/CEO Bandula Egodage, commenting on the provisional top-line export data presented to him by EDB Directors at a progress review session held at the EDB yesterday.

‘Lanka IT sector to hit $1B mark next year’-EDB - 05/12/2014

Sri Lanka’s surging IT and BPO exports would hit the critical dollar one billion mark as early as next year, surpassing previous expectations! And London Stock Exchange and HSBC have praised the Lankan IT sector ‘with joy’, as revealed on 05 December in Jaffna. And the pioneering Northern IT Exports forum by EDB & ICTA was packed with enthusiastic regional IT industry.

“We earned $719 Mn from ICT exports, and our projection for 2014 is $820 Mn. At this rate, we expect to hit dollar one billion mark very soon-as early as 2015. We have seen 123% growth in IT sector over the last five years. London Stock Exchange and HSBC also praised the Lankan IT sector with joy” said Saman Maldeni (Director, Export Services of SLEDB) on 05 December in Jaffna.

EDB to host international delegation at SLDF 2014

Daily FT - 05/12/2014

Lanka Design Festival (SLDF) 2014, which is backed by local industries and the Government, is scheduled to kick off over the next few days.

The main objective of the festival is to promote design driven exports as a major economic sector for the country. For this reason, SLDF is supported by Sri Lanka’s apex institute for driving exports, the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB).

Visegrád Four to synergise Lanka's FTAs to penetrate South Asia

Daily News - 04/12/2014

The V4 industrial economy billed as the Tetra Tiger due to its high growth, has revealed for the first time that it wants to synergise Lanka's historic FTAs to penetrate South Asia, and it is also readying for new bilateral efforts of high capacity across the board-in Lanka's wheat production, energy and even defence.

"Our aim is to make Sri Lanka our business and investment platform to South Asia. There are many Slovakian manufacturers ready to invest here, produce and export to South Asian markets using your FTAs with India and Pakistan," said Peter Burian, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic recently.